Miami Hotel Safari
4th April 2019
Along the white sandy beaches are a sparkling showcase of renowned hotels, old and new all offering its guests a little something different. What makes a Miami hotel different from any other hotels in the world is that it complements the thriving creative scene here; with many of them rightfully establishing themselves as an art tourist mecca.
When visiting the Bass Museum, the woman on the front desk insisted we go to The Sagamore Hotel, amongst other museums, gardens and famous roads. This is unique to Miami, the hotels here draw guests in as venues. We went stateside for some exciting new business potentials and to visit some of these jaw dropping destinations. We chose these hotels to explore each unique guest experience.
The Faena Hotel, known for housing Damien Hirst’s mega-mammoth sculpture is as instagrammable from the inside as it is out.
The Faena Hotel, Miami Beach, is the second Faena Hotel with its original located in Buenos Aries. Alan Faena, an Argentine developer and hotelier brought his vision stateside to Miami and the now named Faena District – a $1bn project that spans 5 previous drive-by blocks of Collins Avenue. Once in a forgotten area of Miami, between North Beach and South Beach, the Faena Hotel has certainly made its mark.
Formerly, The Saxony Hotel, the venue hosted Hollywood royalty from Marilyn Monroe to Frank Sinatra. It was the first of its kind in Miami in 1948 and spurred on the growth of luxury hotels that line the strip today.
Although it’s only been open for 3 years, Faena has rightfully established itself as a hotspot for those wanting to indulge in old-school glamour and extravagance.
From the moment we stepped out of the taxi a smiling gentleman helped with the door and greeted us. This level of service was apparent throughout from the concierge to the bar staff. It didn’t feel false and over the top, but rather genuine. I wonder if this would be the same level of service if they knew we were popping in for a nose around.
A (temporary) large carousel by artist Raul de Nieves, commissioned by the Art Production Fund and Bulgari dominated the entrance. An over the top spectacle that didn’t feel out of place with the rest of the hotel.
It didn’t come as a surprise to discover afterwards that Alan Faena had the help of Baz Luhrmann; film maker behind the likes of Moulin Rouge, Great Gatsby and Romeo + Juliet and costume designer Catherine Martin with the creative design of the hotel.
The alchemy between these 3 creative pioneers is displayed throughout the look and feel of the hotel, from the selected art pieces, the clash between classic and cinematic style, velvet furniture, to hints of Latin-inspired embroidery.
Faena Hotel is stunning, indulgent and excessive and every cinematic detail pays homage to the restored golden-age glamour of Miami.
The hotel features 179 guestrooms and suites, a pool area and spa. Its award-winning restaurants showcase different culinary worlds combined with its ornate theatre, bars and outside eateries propel this venue as a unique art deco destination for fashionistas and the ultra-glam.
A short and sweet visit to the Faena hotel was a unique experience; every moment a visual delight. Originally drawn in by the hype of the mammoth and discovering so much more to its charm, the Faena hotel has an experience around every corner with the perfect mix of modern art, architecture and flamboyancy.
Right on the beach, in the heart of South Beach, you’ll find the Sagamore Hotel – an independently owned historic boutique hotel. Doubling up as an exhibition space and hotel, The Sagamore Hotel offers deluxe accommodation with a glimpse into the thriving art culture of Miami.
A totally different experience from the Faena hotel, the Sagamore Hotel has been an art-deco destination since the Art Deco District was created in the 1940’s. One of the many historic venues in Miami Beach, The Sagamore hotel is known for its rotating art galleries that are open to the public 24/7.
#SagamoreIsArt series is committed to showcasing art from all over the world, with a new exhibit every 60 days. Resident art advisor, Sabastien Laboureau has curated an ambitious programme to further the cultural legacy of the Sagamore.
FRAME’S exhibition stole the show during our visit and the exhibition is running until the end of March (extended by popular demand). Throughout its tenure, guided tours, art talks and happy hours are open to all. This is a unique experience to become part of the blossoming art community here.
There’s a huge social element to the hotel; it’s known for its iconic Sagamore Brunch every December during Art Basel week, bringing together art lovers, curators, artists and the like from across the globe. On our visit, groups of people were scattered throughout the venue, all engaged in what looked like art-inspired conversations.
The hotel’s bright white interiors are contrasted by its array of imaginative artwork. Perhaps it relies on its art feature a bit too much, as it did feel tired and in need of a little refresh. It’s gallery like atmosphere made it feel very formal.
The hotel has 93 rooms with luxurious amenities for all. Its signature restaurant, Canvas located in the lobby offers colourful contemporary American cuisine complimenting the surrounding modern art pieces.
The pool side area features stunning bronze animal sculptures by Aussie-artists Gillie and Marc who have created some of the world’s most innovative pieces of its kind. The seating area however feels more like an afterthought, located a bit too far away from the poolside hang out spot.
The Sagamore hotel; a hotel, art space and social hang out has a very cool aura, from entering the lobby all the way through to the pool area. Its reputation as an ‘incubator of artistic expression’ is noticeable throughout. The fusion between hotel and contemporary gallery draw the crowds in and it totally works for the space. It’s like a meeting spot for art lovers, that’s made not just for the people of Miami, but tourists too. It’s ‘open door policy’ creates an inviting atmosphere and the perfect place to watch the sunset.
Occupying an entire block on Collins Avenue, 1 Hotel provides refuge in a whitewashed, driftwood setting. The original 1 Hotel in its portfolio (with others in New York and LA), it is the perfect place for an indulgent stay. Jump out of bed for a spin class at Soul Cycle, refuel at Plnthouse, take a dip in any pool of your choice (they have 4), browse the boutiques and get your blow-dried curls at the salon ready for the night ahead. This place has it all – why ever would you leave?!
1 Hotel have struck the perfect balance between beautiful design and being environmentally conscious, with thanks to design boutique Meyer Davies Studio. It’s like a sanctuary where you can escape the Miami heat, the shoppers of Lincoln Road, the hustle and bustle of Ocean Drive and connect with nature (for a cost). Materials and furnishings are regional, reclaimed or repurposed showing a clear dedication to sustainability. Its headboards are built out of beetle-kill wood and its hangers are created using old love letters.
A huge swimming human catches your eye on arrival. This stunning piece is by Plant The Future, a nature-inspired design agency. With its roots in the Wynwood district, Plant The Future has created synergy with naturalists, artists, art collectors, hoteliers and anyone with an eye for biophilic design. Their work spans from the interiors Starbucks, gardens, exhibition centres, private residences, restaurants (we actually went to CVI.CHE 105, Downtown Miami where its custom murals circled the entire restaurant) to hotels. They also did the garden area at the Faena too.
It’s a complete biophilic and sustainable experience. Throughout the hotel are quirky green displays and indoor tropical gardens. It really helps you connect with nature and feel really relaxed.
We’ve noticed a trend that a lot of retailers and hospitality venues are doing, which is adding eco-aesthetics to their merchandising by installing plants. A lot of the time it doesn’t really correlate with the brand it’s just a bit lazy. Not here; it’s well thought out, true to the hotel’s ethos and couldn’t be more fitting.
By the check in desk a big sign board ‘March Happenings’ listed all the events at the hotel that month. Take your pick, from body rejuvenation treatments, butterfly conservation, carnival celebrations to a four-day fitness series and curated DJ performances over Miami Music Week. The hotel ticks all the boxes and caters to all; the ravers to the naturalists.
Next to the lifts, a huge whale sculpted by artist and environmentalist Cindy Pease Roe sends an educational message to guests. Materials used are from marine debris including a painting tarp, a razor handle, a shower curtain ring, bottle caps and more. The 6-foot custom whale addresses the waste and plastic problem that has become a hot topic in recent years.
Elsewhere you can find top notch fitness facilities with local certified Spartan trainers, Bamford Haybarn Spa and the largest rooftop pool in South Beach. Have I sold it to you yet?
1 Hotel is eco-luxury at its absolute finest. It feels like its own little world to get lost in where you can eat the finest food, take an art class or catch up with friends over a bottomless Aperol Spritz session. It’s refreshing to see a green take on design that makes eco-consciousness feel cool.
Reflecting back on the three different hotels that we visited, they each offer a valued and unique experience. It was only when we arrived back home and did our research did we realise the sheer amount of thought that went into the design and the aesthetic of these hotels. It’s clear each hotel is for a particular type of guest, each wanting different things. Head to the Faena, get dressed up like you’re in the movies, or pop to the Sagamore to be part of Miami’s culture scene, or head to the billed ‘Wellness Hotel’ for some well-deserved R&R.